This past weekend was homecoming, today Evan Turner will return to the place where he won the 2010 Naismith Award. “I can’t wait to see some of my old coaches and old faces, and the fans," Turner told the Columbus Dispatch.
The last time Evan Turner played at the Schott, he helped Ohio State clinch a share of the Big Ten championship. In fact, Evan Turner hasn't lost a game in Value City arena in 1309 days, and if the 76ers can win, that streak should hold for quite a long time.
Prior to Turner's arrival at Ohio State there had been exactly one triple double recorded in Ohio State history, Turner recorded two in his final season (four if you count turnovers as a category). Turner's stellar junior campaign resulted in him being selected No. 2 in the 2010 NBA draft, behind John Wall and before DeMarcus Cousins and all-star Paul George. While Turner enjoys playing for the Philadelphia crowd, he admitted that it isn't the same as playing for the Buckeyes:
“Being in the eastern part of the States is way different than being in the Midwest. Fans at Ohio State never booed or were negative. In Philly, that’s kind of what they’re known for. It’s the City of Brotherly Love. I guess that’s how they show their affection or whatever.” - Evan Turner
The booing should reach a new level this year, as the 76ers are expected to be one of the worst couple of teams in the NBA. This off-season they traded their best player, all-star guard Jrue Holliday. With Holliday out of the mix, Turner is expected to carry a heavier load and is averaging nearly 20 points per game this pre-season. With the 76ers headed in the wrong direction, Turner stressed the importance of playing the season out and putting himself "in a situation to see what (free agency) has to offer." That isn't to say that Turner won't be a 76er next season, but he doesn't appear to be in Philly's long term plans at the moment. Still, look for Turner to have a monster season this year, as he will have an opportunity to clearly be "the guy" for the first time since his college days.
On the opposite side, the in-state Cavaliers are trending up, with realistic playoff hopes for the first time in the A.L. (After LeBron) period. The Cavs had the first pick in the draft this past year for the second time in three years, drafting Anthony Bennett. The Cavaliers also signed Andrew Bynum in the off-season and, barring injuries, have a pretty solid starting five. The Cavs are hopeful that Bynum can return some time in November or December, which would be a huge boost to a team that hasn't won more than 24 games in the past 3 seasons. Many in the basketball community believe that the Cavaliers could finish somewhere between 6th and 8th in the east and make the playoffs, but it all comes down to health.
While both teams are certainly facing many questions, one thing is for certain - when former Buckeye Evan Turner and current Cavs star Kyrie Irving take the court tonight there will be plenty of excitement in the building. Tickets are still available and start at $15.